The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pigeons and Wet Cement

                                           In Memorium

Sources: twentytwowords , My ear trumpet has been struck by lightning, and goodshowsir

    Be seeing you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Wonderful Idea...

    At the moment you are sitting slightly hunched forward in a chair staring at the same spot about 24" in front of your nose that you have been staring at for the last 2 hours or more. You do this for far too long and far too often, especially if you work in a cubicle farm. It causes eye strain, back aches and probably digestive issues as well. We know it plays hell with the circulation of blood.

    We know all these things, but the time slips away from us when we are busy. Now there is a program to remind you to step away from the computer. It is kind of sad and pathetic that one is necessary but we all know that it is.

    Fortunately it is free.


      Time Out is a small (1.4 MB) program which gently but firmly reminds you that it’s time to take a break. It offers Micro Time Outs and Normal Time Outs, which are defaulted to a 10-second break every 10 minutes (Micros), and a 10-minute break every hour (Normals). You can modify these to your heart’s content, including the lengths of the breaks, the time between them, the time of the fade-in and fade-out. (That gray screen above gradually obscures your work when it's time to take a break, but gives you time to save or procrastinate your procrastinating. 

     Here's the web site for the free download:

     Thanks to oregonexpat for telling me about this!

     Be seeing you.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michelle Gets Petty...But Not For Long

    Well folks, the 2012 Presidential campaign is officially under way. Michelle Bachmann announced her candidacy, confused John Wayne the actor with John Wayne Gacy the serial killer and used Tom Petty's "American Girl" to play her off the stage...where there was a cease and desist letter from Mr. Petty waiting for her. Well OK, the actual letter may take a little while longer because actual lawyers have to draw it up, but you get the idea. It is time for Republicans to face the facts. The cool musicians from the last three generations do not want their fans thinking they approve of you. You are bad for business. Besides, any musician with a spark of creativity still burning in his or her heart has to be more progressive than you are.

    I'm afraid Michelle is faced with choosing either Ted Nugent or Lawrence Welk. Well, there is one Tom Petty song that he probably wouldn't mind her using:


Be seeing you.

On The Whole Gay Wedding Thing

     Now that New York has legalized marriage between adults of cis-gender, (I just love using chemistry prefixes in sociological context!), it is pretty much impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube. New York is the third largest state when ranked by population and the law has no residency requirement so there will be a LOT of gay couples getting married at Niagra Falls this year.

     The legal tangle arises when all of the red states that passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage refuse to acknowledge the legal status of two people legally wed in another state. Lawsuits will follow. The new question will be "Boxers or legal briefs?" I predict that a lot of gay couples will vote with their feet to states that give them the legal rights of a spouse, if not immediately then as soon as a partner becomes hospitalized and the mother in law has to authorize surgery.

     And so it goes. The whole issue will go away in a few years of course. I am 58 years old and I have among my close friends and family at least three polyamorous complexes, one of which could be called a compound marriage, a post-operative trans-sexual, a couple of gays that I know about, and more than one couple who married for health insurance reasons as much as any legal or religious need. The point is, I am not unique. Marriage as it was formerly defined is the relationship template of the minority...or soon will be. Most of us not only don't really care who has one, we aren't all that sure if we need one.

     In a few more years, and after a lot of kicking and screaming and a lot more election campaigns, everyone will be able to get married if they are old enough. Between now and then a lot of people from states where you can marry your 14 year old first cousin but where they really miss anti-miscegenation laws are going to get all kinds of upset every time any state wants to legalize gay weddings.

    The thorny part isn't with the "gay" for a lot of the rest who aren't just bigoted arseholes. It lies with the word "Marriage". For a lot of religions marriage is a holy sacrament. They feel that the state has no business telling them who they should preform a religious holy rite for.

     They are absolutely right.

     The state has no business issuing marriage licences at all. The state has no right to tell you what wedding to perform. It also has no right to tell me NOT to perform a handfasting of a loving committed polyamorous complex if it pleases me to do so. We need to stop calling the civil union of two people for which the state issues licenses a marriage and find a new name for it.

     Then the First Reformed Church of White People With Sticks Up Their Arse of Badass, Texas won't have to marry gay couples and they can go to the First Presbyterian Church in Austin for the ceremony.

     Everyone will be happy, whether they are gay or not.

     Be seeing you.

Free Speech or Religious Persecution?

Nikki Kitchen, who practices witchcraft and runs White Trinity Witch in Plymouth, said Pro-Christian leaflets were pushed through the door.
Anonymous handwritten notes have also been delivered to the shop.
Ms Kitchen previously had to stop running a stall in Plymouth's indoor market because of abusive comments.
Ms Kitchen said: "Churchgoers think we're the spawn of Satan."

"They expect us to accept their religion but they don't look at Paganism as being one of the oldest religions going.
"I think people are just uneducated, it's not about devil worship at all.
"It's about love light and using the earth to heal the people around us."

Ms Kitchen said she had not reported the leaflets to the police but had emailed the company behind them to complain and had heard nothing back.
Dr Theodore Danson-Smith who runs a company which distributes leaflets like Ms Kitchen received, told BBC Radio Devon: "We don't sell any hate mail whatsoever.
"It's not hate mail, it's telling the way of salvation.
"Any witchcraft shop is working for Satan not for God."
He said he did not know which Christian group had posted the leaflets, which are entitled "The Beast" and written in comic book form, through Mrs Kitchen's door.

"The Beast" is a Jack Chick publication. Other Jack Chick publications conflate the role playing game :Dungeons and Dragons" with Satanic Ritual Magic.

Obnoxious and ill-mannered, but is it persecution or merely over-aggressive proselytizing? 

Re-read the story and substitute "Jew" for "Witch". That changes things a bit, doesn't it? It still isn't clear which side of "the line" this case is on, but the line moved, didn't it?  The laws are different in the U.K. than here on freedom from religious persecution, but they ought not to have a threshold demographic percentage before they apply.

     Be Seeing you.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Assault...Or Food Fight?

     Deputies with the Delaware County sheriff's office arrived at a banquet hall early Saturday morning expecting to break up a domestic dispute. When they arrived, they were showered with abuse...and breast milk.

    Evidently Stephanie Robinette had become intoxicated while attending the festivities that followed a wedding that she had attended with her husband. An argument ensued and after striking her husband several times she locked herself in her car.

     Thus far a domestic scene that many of us are familiar with. It is here however, that things take a turn toward the surreal .

     The deputies said Mrs. Robinette began yelling profanities when they approached the vehicle and refused to get out. She then informed them she was a breast-feeding mother, removed her right breast from her dress and began spraying deputies and the vehicle with her breast milk, Sheriff Walter L. Davis, III said in the news release.

She faces charges of domestic violence, assault, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. State law prohibits the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm a law enforcement officer with blood, semen, urine, feces or another bodily substance.
The fifth-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

At least they didn't tase her.

     During her court appearance, Mrs. Robinette said she is a teacher. If convicted she may lose her license to teach.

 Be seeing you.

     The Columbus Dispatch

I'm a Card Carrying Member

    The other day I mailed in $60 to the American Civil Liberties Union. I couldn't really afford it.  I'm unemployed and between the rent and the utilities and the $436 a month that COBRA charges me so that I can afford to see a doctor and take all the drugs that he gives me to keep me in a semblance of health, I have to dig into what used to be my 401k for groceries.

    I did it anyway. The way I see it, there are a lot of rich and powerful people who are trying to make sure that I have to work until the day I die and the ACLU are just about the only people fighting to keep that from happening. Then Democratic Party talks a good fight, but at the national level, they don't seem able to get it together. President Obama seems willing to listen to everybody except the people  who voted for him. The Republican Party are driving the train and tying me to the railroad tracks.

     I figure the ACLU is the best shot I have unless I can hit the lottery or a lot of people in Washington develop a conscience.

   How about you? Feel lucky?

   Be seeing you

We're Still Better Than We Once Were...

...No matter how dark then news seems some days.

An excerpt from a 1950 pamphlet disseminated by the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, a private group that promoted the sterilization of the state’s “mental defectives.” George H. Lawrence, superintendent of public welfare for Buncombe County, was the group’s founding president….North Carolina’s eugenics program did not end until the 1970s, there are a number of victims still living….California led the nation in the number of sterilizations, with a recorded 20,108 forced surgeries by 1964. In all, 60,000 Americans were the victims of eugenics programs.

Source with a bit more:

The '50s weren't "The good old days for everyone.

Be seeing you.

Sloth, Lust, Envy, and Puppies

                                Mercury in retrograde

        Be seeing you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Castles of the Fairy Tale King

 125 years ago today King Ludwig II of Bavaria died. He was deposed on the grounds of madness without an examination and died under dubious circumstances the following day. He is best remembered for commissioning the building of the worlds most beautiful castles and as the patron of the composer Richard Wagner.

     One of his most quoted saying was, "I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and others."

                           (Click on image to enlarge)

27 more breathtaking photographs at The Atlantic

More on King Ludwig II at Wikipedia and The German Way

Auf Wiedersehen.

I Wish This Sort of Thing Surprised Me

    "MIAMI (Reuters) - An American man who ran a home for impoverished boys in Haiti has been arrested on charges that he forced them to perform sex acts in exchange for food, shelter and schooling, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.
Matthew Andrew Carter, the 66-year-old operator of the Morning Star Center in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, was arrested in Miami on May 8. He pleaded not guilty on Thursday to four counts of child sex tourism, or traveling in foreign commerce to engage in illicit sex with minors."

Carter engaged in illicit sexual conduct with at least eight former and current students from the mid-1990s through April, according to the criminal complaint. He allegedly forced the students to engage in sexual acts in exchange for gifts, money or continued care." (BBC)

"This defendant preyed on innocent Haitian children living in severely depressed conditions, making his conduct particularly deplorable," said U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer in a statement Friday. "Rather than using Morning Star as he promised - to administer aid and provide sanctuary to needy children - he used the center to manipulate, abuse and sexually exploit them."
One of the students told investigators that the sexual abuse continued for six years, beginning when he was 10. The student said Carter stopped buying him clothing, shoes and books when, at age 16, he refused to perform any more sexual acts on Carter, Flores wrote in the complaint."

Miami Herald

   In light of these revelations, the choice of "Morningstar" for the center's name is darkly ironic.

   Can't this poor country catch a single break?

   Be seeing you.

A Koan For The New Millennium

    I heard this over twenty years ago. I am repeating it from memory as Google can't find it. If I err in the detail forgive me. The spirit endures.

    A great teacher asked his student to tell him what Buddhism is. The student gave technically correct descriptive answers, yet each time the teacher would slap him and tell him to try again. Finally he smiled and said, 'Buddhism is a stick that the traveler uses to remove mud from the soles of his feet."

    In that instant the student knew enlightenment.

    In this new age there are far too many people willing to force their brand of faith upon others. They forget that faith is a function of belief and one can no more force someone to believe in a thing than one can compel love. Even if you could, the point of the koan is that Buddhism, like all religions, is a tool. In the words of Jeshua Ben Joseph of Nazereth; "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

     Sadly, I don't think even a slap will clear the veil of illusion.

     Be seeing you



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Belt-Fed Whimsy

Yeah. It's Like That.

Arbeit Ergo Sum?

"To be is to do"-Socrates;

 "To do is to be"-Sartre; 

"Do Be Do Be Do"-Sinatra; 

 "Yaba Daba Doo!"-Fred Flintstone

Popular graffiti in university bathrooms in the 70s.

    Americans tend to define themselves by what they do for a living. "He is a plumber", or "She is a lawyer" may be common usage in other countries, but here we mean it. We become so identified with what we do for a living that when we retire or become to sick or injured to work we are lost. 

     I was working in a cubicle farm and I noticed an ambitious friend of mine had set up the following as her e-mail signature line:

     Customer service:
     It's what I do.
     It's who I am.

    I felt an actual chill when I read that. She probably thought it won her brownie points with management. It probably did. I would no more sign correspondence with that slogan than I would with "Work Makes You Free". I believe that words have power and signing every letter with the total surrender of my identity to my employer strikes me as a very unhealthy thing to do. 

    We all do it though...or something very much like it. It used to be very common when you wanted to know how much money someone had to ask, "How much is he worth?" In some circles it is still common usage. 

     Maybe it is a good idea to sit down once in a while and make a list of all that we are. 

     Try it. Take a good twenty minutes and make a good job of it. Don't forget to write down "lover" and all of the other things that bring you joy to do. 

     Now look at the list and ponder a bit on the important things that you are that really belong higher on the list than what you do to make a living. 

    The illusion that our job is what we are is what keeps us afraid.

    Be seeing you.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Man With No Arms Makes U.S. Olympic Archery Team

Matt Stutzman was born with no arms. He hasn't let a little thing like that slow him down though. He does most things that other folks do. He eats, drives a car, and rides a motorcycle, all using his feet. He has no handicapped sticker on his car and the controls have not been modified.

He purposely challenges himself to do any and everything a “normal” person can do. Matt Stutzman has now qualified for the National US Olympic team in archery. Out of the thirty people who tried out that day, Matt had the highest score. Two others qualified.
In July, Matt will be going to Italy for team trials. If he qualifies there, and he is confident he will, then it’s off to London in 2012 for the Summer Olympics. Matt’s goal is a Gold Medal. He is confident he will win The Gold because the target at the Olympics is larger and closer than what he practices with.

   Source: Nothing to do With Arborath

    Be seeing you.

12-Bore Wart Removal Ends Predictably

     Sean Murphy, 38, lost most of his left middle finger after using the stolen 12-bore Beretta shotgun at a garden center in Doncaster.

Murphy, a security officer at Markham Grange Nurseries, Brodsworth, at the time of the incident in March, has since lost his job. He had suffered with the wart on the joint closest to the tip of his middle finger for more than five years.
He said: “It was hurting a lot and causing my finger to bend. I’d been to the doctors and tried all sorts of things but it wouldn’t go.
“I didn’t expect to lose my finger as well when I shot it but the gun recoiled and that was it. The wart was gone and so was most of my finger. 

Martin Ward, prosecuting, said: “On the afternoon in question he had some drink.”

Be seeing you.

No One Expects The Dental Inquisition!

Think you have it rough when your barber starts talking about what a great President Sarah Palin would make while he's cutting your hair? That's a walk in the park compared to having your dentist trying to convert  you to his religion while he's holding a dental probe and a high speed drill!

A CONFESSED "God-botherer" Highton dentist was likely to re-offend after failing to show any remorse for trying to convert a patient lying in his chair, a tribunal has heard.
Paul Gardner has declined to explain why he began spouting fundamental Christian views during a consultation, the Dental Board of Australia told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday.
In December 2008 Gardner took his patient's "facial expression and body language" to mean she questioned the Bible and, upon seeing the patient's dragon tattoo, asserted tattoos de-sensitised people for prophecies detailed in scripture.

Six months before the latest incident, Dr Gardner was fined $10,000 after he told a schizophrenic patient that she was possessed by the devil and could be cured through his church's spiritual healing.
The practising Christian labelled disciplinary action against him as part of a Masonic or Catholic bias infringing his human rights and sent the dental board "threatening" letters demanding $175,000 in compensation.

More at Link

     Is it safe?

    Be seeing you.


A Florence Flask of Flowers

                             1880 Switchboard Operator
                     Request Your Absentee Ballot Early!